Finding Hope in Mutability through Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats Poems

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The Romantic period happened in and around the years of 1789 to 1832. During these years, all around the world terrible things were happening. In France, the French Revolution was devastating and were the after affects. Almost all of Europe was affected, and this loss and suffering permeated the writings of Romantic poets. Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats poems are two authors that write about mutability but also write in a way that comes off as a search for something hopeful and happy in human existence. Both poets try to see the beauty inside the ugliness of the world.
The first example of poetry is Shelley’s “Mutability” poem. Throughout the poem, he makes many parallels between humans and nature. “We are as clouds that veil midnight moon,” (1) and “Or like the forgotten lyres” (5) are two of the most notable ones. The purpose of the two comparisons is to emphasize the eternal human condition of change, in other words, to be mutable. However, Shelley consistently takes the sadness and gloom of these ideas and creates a beautiful image. “How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver, / Streaking the darkness and radiantly!-yet soon / Night closes round, and they are lost forever” (2-4). Here, Shelley is comparing the time it takes for a cloud to pass along the moon to the time a human’s life is. It goes quickly. But with the words Shelley uses, like “gleam” and “radiantly”, he creates a beautiful image out of the tragic truth of human existence.
Shelley’s third stanza of this poem is almost the turning point. “We rest.-A dream has power to poison sleep; / We rise-One wandering though pollutes the day; (9-10). Simply put, one thing can simply ruin your outlook on the day, or even life. The mind cannot control the unc...

... middle of paper ... are native to nature. He is able to see the beauty and the hope of life even though death is close.
Both Shelley and Keats, through their poems, are able to see the beauty and hope in tragedy and death. Shelley is able to see that change is, in fact alright, because it is inevitable. The fact that life is so short and that your feelings and thoughts are uncontrollable shows that change will happen and you will not feel that way forever. If you sit and wallow in your sadness, life will pass you by. Shelley is able to illustrate these themes by using beautiful imagery and comparisons. Keats s is able to look at the fruitfulness and beauty of Autumn even though death is around the corner. He is able to not take life for granted just because death is guaranteed. Both poets gorgeously emphasis the point that even beauty and hope can be found in the darkest of times.

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